CSAC Bulletin Article

Legislature Hosts Emergency Warning Systems Hearing

December 7, 2017

In addition to facilitating meetings regarding this year’s devastating wildfires, CSAC also continues to monitor any potential policy changes that may arise from the fires. On Monday, December 4 Senator Hannah Beth Jackson and Assemblymember Miguel Santiago hosted a joint information hearing to review California’s emergency alert and response procedures.

The hearing included presentations by CAL Fire Chief Ken Pimlot, OES Director Mark Ghilarducci and several county supervisors, elected officials, and staff who spoke about their experiences with the fires. Director Ghilarducci stressed the importance of the local mutual aid system and how critical local agencies and counties are in spreading messages during emergency situations.

The hearing examined many elements of California’s emergency management systems and included a robust discussion of experiences from the recent fires. Ideas discussed during the hearing included giving authority to the Public Utilities Commission to require redundancy and improved resiliency for key pieces of telecommunications infrastructure owned and operated by private industry, creating opt-out emergency notification systems, the high cost of emergency siren systems, and the importance of 211 systems.

The new Legislative session begins in January and CSAC will be watching for legislative proposals related to these fires that could impact local counties.

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